Friday, 29 May 2009

Buddha's Guide to Summer B-B-Q Grillin'

Ok, yes I eat meat.....and I sometimes feel less then good about it. Summer is almost upon us now here in the Northern Hemisphere and outdoor BBQ grillin’ season has arrived. This used to be one of my more favorite activities during the summer and the more meat I could fit on the grill the more serotonin my brain seemed to dump. It is almost primordial in its manly feeling and honestly, a rack of smoked ribs fired over a charcoal grill with sweet corn, baked beans and homemade buttermilk biscuits is pretty close to heaven on Earth if you ask me. (Yes, I am a redneck, I admit it…sans the mullet)

I’ve been rethinking this whole eating meat thing lately, but I feel it’s not something I should give up just because I think it’s the Buddhist thing or politically correct thing to do, but only give up because I understand the cruelness and sorrow the animals must be put through. I wonder if vegetarianism is more cultural or spiritual, or perhaps a bit of both?

Thursday, 28 May 2009

A Mathematical Theory of Reality

Srinivasa Ramanujan, born in 1887, was a renowned and celebrated Indian mathematician, much of who's work still to this day is just being understood by academic scholars around the world. Ramanujan was born the son of a Brahman family, and though poor and with almost no access to formal mathematical texts or teachers, formulated some of the most extraordinary, almost mystical equations the world had known to that point. His theories shook the very foundation of theoretical mathematics, and even today, still have a direct impact and application in such fields as physics, astronomy and chemistry.

In the extraordinary book, 'The Man Who Knew Infinity', written by Robert Kanigel, the author details Ramanujan's attempt to link his spirituality with his love of mathematics. Even thought he was a Hindu by birth, he expressed interest in all the religions and spiritual ideas of the day. He surmised that Oneness or God or Absoluteness could somehow be formulated in a mathematical expression. Even today, some of these theory's are quite controversial and hotly debated among mathematicians and philosophers alike. I'm not very good at math, but one of these formulas Kanigel explained struck me as highly peculiar, yet somehow seemed to have remarkable logical reasoning behind it, especially in the context of Buddhist teachings.

In theoretical mathematics, it is very important to understand that the number zero does not represent nothingness or void-ness, but rather represents potential. It is the only natural number that is neither positive nor negative, and denotes something which has the latent capacity for any numerical eventuality. On the Kelvin scale in quantum physics, absolute zero represents the coldest temperature possible in the universe, where there are no particles nor energy nor light. Anyway, here is Ramanujan's simple 'Theory of Reality' for you all to ponder.

0 = Absolute Reality and (Infinity) ∞ = the "myriad manifestations of that reality" Therefore, he claimed (0) (∞) (zero x infinity) = "All Numbers, or every individual act of creation." This might be a bit confusing, but perhaps if we think about it in terms of "We are what we think" and the Buddha's notion of what emptiness is, it may strike a chord with you?

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

I am a Western Buddhist

James Ure, who is an excellent blogger and a great asset to the Buddhist blogging community, over at The Buddhist Blog, wrote a wonderful and thought provoking piece a couple of weeks ago entitled "Do we really need Western Buddhism?" James writes;

"In the end It doesn't come down to any of this--these labels are mere fingers pointing to the glorious moon. It comes down to the present moment where labels mean nothing. However, it is an issue that needs to be discussed and fine tuned because right now "western Buddhists" are like a man without a country or a ship without a sail adrift in a sea of opposing currents and shifting winds."

I was going to answer him on his blog, but I felt like this needed its own post. I like this comparison with "being a man without a country", and I see everyone of us in this great big web of people, sharing ideas as those who are now, shaping and defining our practice and our traits. I completely agree, I don't think labels are all that great, however, in this relative world some labels can help build a community and sense of belonging to all those afloat in a sea of uncertainty. I feel we already have defined and created a new tradition of Western Buddhism, however with all the different people and pages, I think its hard to put our finger on and define the wonderful community that these sites, blogger's, contributors and readers have helped forge. They are all pioneers, just like any of you reading this now are.

Another excellent writer on modern Buddhist thought, Lawrence Levy, wrote "We do not see ourselves as inventors of something new but as stewards carrying into our own culture and time an extraordinary methodology for inner development."
I think this idea of stewardship is an important one. Many great teachers in the last 40 years have brought the essence of Buddhist teachings, stripped of unneeded dogma and culture westward, and it is up to all of us to carry this spirit of innovation and enthusiasm forward, so the next generation has a solid foundation to help them find there own way.

Why do I say Western Buddhism exists already?

That which binds us together:

Most all of us are from countries that are representational Democracies, who's governments power ultimately derives, (to borrow the words from Abraham Lincoln) "of the people, by the people, for the people" and "conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.". We all come from societies and cultures that place a high value on equality, justice, tolerance and the rule of law, even though we realize many times it is an imperfect system. Our cultures have a broad and well entrenched tradition of individual liberties and freedoms, such as speech, the press and freedom from and of religion. Most of us also come from countries already steeped rich in diversity, who draw strength, not weakness from these differences. Our perfection lies in our knowledge that we are imperfect beings and hence we can always learn from others.

For most of us Westerners, Buddhist study is not something we were born into, pressed into by culture, family or tradition, but approached by our own curiosity and initiative, with a free will and as true beginners. We all place logic, reason and good judgment over believing what is told to us out of a book or a sermon; relying on understanding over dogma and experience over blind faith. Look at our community now, I find it very difficult to find any individuals that won't discuss openly and freely their own particular practice with anyone from any other tradition. We have, by our very open mindedness and divergent backgrounds made accessible the whole enigma that traditional Buddhism used to be, into something that is shared in an accessible and candid community. It is very difficult to find this anywhere else in this world, as practice for many traditional Buddhists is much more culturally based, and not often shared between denominations.

We already have a bustling, open and prodigious community of Western Buddhists. Even though we may not know it, we already have a this and it is most definitely reflective of the diverse cultures we all hail from. Winston Churchill wrote "Where my reason, imagination or interest were not engaged, I would not or I could not learn." I could not agree more.

Diversity:

We do not need to wear cultural or traditional robes, but we accept and can learn from those that do.
We do not need to bow to statues or even each other, but we accept and can learn from those that do.
We do not need to be Zen, Tibetan, Theravada or of any of the many other ancient Buddhist traditions, but we accept and can learn from those that are.
We do not need to shave our heads and join some remote monastery, but we accept and can learn from those that do.
We do not need to believe or not believe in God; or be Chiristian, Muslim, Hindi, Jewish, Atheist, Agnostic or any of the other countless traditional religions, but we accept those that are and can learn from them.
We reject the extremes of all human indignities and realize the best path lies usually somewhere in the middle.
We realize that conquering the problems and hardships of this life, and answering the profound questions of a spiritual life are not separate, but are intimately and irrevocably intertwined.

This is why I am not shamed to say I am a Western Buddhist.

We have found common ground from where we all can help each other up whatever our individual practices we may embark on. With the tens of thousands of pages of sutras, writings and teachings, we can boil off a lot of the extra words, and find universal principles to build upon.

Common Principles

Three Basic Principles
Anicca - We must experience and understand the impermanence of all things.
Dukkha - We must experience all the hardships, problems, suffering and unsatisfactoriness of this life and search for the cause of them.
Anatta - We must search for self, understand its beginnings and ends, experience its true form and nature.

Those that have come before us said it is possible, with our inherent human ability and effort, that with acute attention to this moment, awareness of how all things arise and fall and our interconnectedness with all that is, ever was and ever will be, that we can find some answers, some relief and some genuine understanding of the true nature of our existence. We should not take any one answer for truth, but test it and see for ourselves these things. Many traditional Buddhists may emphasis one type of practice over another or one aspect of teaching over another. I think we all here share in the idea, for each person has there own path, for which they must find for themselves. Taken as a whole, our community gives all three aspects of Buddhist practice the same weight, each having equal emphasis towards the goal. The Buddha called this the noble eightfold path.

Three Pillars of Practice
Understanding - The wisdom and science of Buddhist philosophy is what draws many of us here and I think it is so extremely important to gain a conceptual handle of what "is being pointed to" in able to move our practice forward.
Practice - We must all find our own way of meditation, weather it be ZaZen, a Tibetan mantra, a Theravada Vipassana process, a combination of all three or something completely new. Mindfulness of mind, perfection of concentration is something that is very person specific, and with right effort can be attuned to every individual as a mature and seasoned practice.
Compassion - When we can understand that we exist because of everything else, and are not separate from one another, we can find compassion for all beings, even in the face of ignorance and intolerance. We may find compassion because we see how they suffer or struggle. We can perhaps see how our words and our actions affect others and ourselves, and maybe we can find some sense of compassion and love to help not only them, but more importantly, yourself. A moral life should not be pursued because you think its the right thing to do, we should make some effort to see WHY it is the right thing to do.

The Canadian Poet, Irving Layton, once somewhat sarcastically wrote "A Canadian is someone who keeps asking the question, 'What is a Canadian?'" Maybe we can, in a much more deliberate and determined effort ask, "What is a Western Buddhist?" The answer is shaped by each and everyone of you, in every word you say and in every moment that passes.

Even if I am the only one, I am not bothered and I am not ashamed to say, I am a Western Buddhist.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Religion: Miller's Crossing, Brought to you by the Letter R

Religion is one word in the English language that I do believe I hold actual animosity towards. Honestly, if the word religion were a living thing, I may have to relinquish my non-violent nature and drive it to a remote spot in the woods, shoot it in the capital letter 'R', dig a shallow grave and dump its confused, pretentious and delusional letters in. I understand we all must live in this relative world and attempt to grasp the meanings we all try to relay to each other, but damn it, religion is like that guy that drives down the highway for 10 miles with their right turn signal on, then, all the sudden proceeds to cross 3 lanes of traffic to the left.

When I do talk to people about spirituality and such, I have made it somewhat of a habit to say that I am Buddhist or Zen Buddhist. I think the reasons why I do this is its easier than trying to explain my practice and perhaps the exotic nature of the tradition might spark some curiosity in the person who is asking. Recently however, I have been finding, it’s not interest I usually draw, but more an attitude of "Oh, that’s a neat religion" or "So do you believe Buddha is God?" I am tagged, labeled and pigeon-holed before I even have a chance to clarify or qualify by what it is I mean.

I think it’s like the old Koan Bruce Lee made famous in 'Enter the Dragon' "It's like a finger pointing away to the moon. Don't concentrate on the finger, or you will miss all the heavenly glory"; or better told as 'when pointing to the moon, don't forget the moon.' If there was one Koan, one simple understanding I wish I could somehow Vulcan mind meld to some people, it is the significance of this. For goodness sake, Buddhism is the finger, not the moon. Perhaps this is an over simplification. And well, sure, Buddhism it is both and neither...but now I am totally digressing.

Maybe I should just tell people I worship the Easter Bunny instead, at least I might get a laugh or two. And, hey ‘Belief’, stop smirking or you’re the next one to take a long ride if you keep it up!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Fellow Travelers

I was out hiking a rather dangerous and long trail a weekend ago with a couple good friends of mine. I've always enjoyed hiking; the thrill of the journey, the ever present shadow of danger and the feeling of accomplishment afterwards. We were on a portion of the Appalachian Trail, which goes through some of the poorest areas of Southwest Virginia, west of Roanoke.

About half way through our trek, we noticed a young man, no older than 16 or 17, closing quickly in behind us, carrying a large satchel which looked to be filled with produce and common household stuff. It seemed odd, us three out hiking in somewhat expensive climbing gear, acting as if we were trekking a dangerous pass in the Himalayas; and him, with old sneakers, carrying way more stuff than us, flying past, unaffected by the hazards of trail. He smiled as he passed us, said "Hi ya'll!" and kept moving.

After another 2 hours on the trail, we noticed the boy coming back the other way, leaving from what looked to be a very run down, very old wooden shanty house. Of course our mouths moved faster than our minds, and we asked the kid "How long you been hiking? You are very fast!." He smiled, as he paused for a moment, and said "Hiking? hahah I'm no hiker. I'm just out gettin' stuff for Mom." Suddenly I felt about 3 inches high.

I guess you don't have to label yourself a hiker to be on the same trail as others. I'm just gonna go ahead and presume you all get the moral of the story here. :-)

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Yes, Yet More Old Zen Koans

Since its been a bit quiet, I thought a few good old Koans would be in order. These have been told in a couple different ways in the past.

Flag in Breeze

Two monks were outside on a windy day admiring a flag flapping quickly in a stiff breeze.

The first monk said, "Look, flag moving."
The second monk cleverly said, "No, no, wind moving."
A wise monk happened to be walking by, and over hearing the other two, leaned towards them and said "Mind moving."

-----------------------------------------------
Mothers Ocean

There once was a young student of Zen who was very curious and asked his teacher, "If age isn't real, and time only exists as an object of the mind, would it be possible for a daughter to become as old as her mother?" The teacher responded, " A raindrop does not begin in the sky and does not end in the ocean."

Why did the teacher say this in answer to the students question?

Sunday, 10 May 2009

China's aggression against Buddhism: Tibet is only part of the story

The conflict between China and the former sovereign nation known as Tibet has been well documented and has undeniably been at the forefront of news headlines around the world since the 1950's. Ever since the Dali Lama fled Tibet for the safety of India in 1959, China's presence in the Tibetan region has increased both militarily and politically. From placing Communist party informers masking as monks within the remaining Tibetan monasteries to relocating large numbers of ethnic Chinese Hans to Tibet, China has made a great attempt to not only remold Tibet's identity as a culture, but to also stamp out the ancient Tibetan Buddhist traditions through intimidation and 're-education.' It has been coined "cultural genocide".

Since the victory of Mao Zedong's Peoples Communist army over the Nationalists lead by Chiang Kai-shek, China had instituted an extreme hard line stance against all established religions. Buddhism, even the traditional Han Chinese brand of the practice was swiftly neutered and transformed into an organ of the state. Mao's hard-liners kept the temples and monks as hollow facades of propaganda and control. Tibet's fate at fist was no different than their Chinese Han Buddhist brethren to the North, just more violently indoctrinated.

After Mao's death and some internal struggle for leadership of the Communist party, the ropes that bound the traditional Buddhist practices within China proper, excluding Tibet, were loosened gradually through the 1970's and 1980's. However, any overt act of practice or show of support for Tibetan Buddhism, no matter where, continues to be a point of hostile confrontation and suppression. China has attempted to modernize its image within the court of world opinion, to try and garner business and political rewards, yet continues to act like a nation state under siege, controlled by a handful of few ideologues still obsessed with Marx, Mao and Lenin's views on religion.

In 2008, Beijing was host of the Summer Olympics Games, and thanks in large part to the vocal outcry from so many individuals around the world, China had an incredibly difficult time covering up the Tibet issue.

The Christian Science monitor reported,
"The heavy security here reflected a massive effort by the Chinese government to prevent Tibetan resentment from spilling too far over from Lhasa, the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, into areas of central China where large Tibetan minorities live, such as Qinghai Province, to which Tongren belongs.

In the nearby town of Xiahe, in neighboring Gansu Province, the site of another important Buddhist monastery, reports said police were using armored personnel carriers and large bodies of troops marching in lock-step formation to quell unrest.

All foreigners traveling on the road from Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu, were stopped by police 100 miles from Xiahe on Saturday night, although some reporters managed to slip into the town before the roadblocks were established. "


During the running of the Olympic torch last year, for the Beijing games, the Chinese secret police and military cleared all the areas of populated Tibet, including Lhasa, of any possible dissenters, in a political attempt to hide what is really going on from the world.

CBS News Reported:

"China blanketed restive Tibetan areas Thursday with a huge buildup of troops, turning small towns across a wide swath of western China into armed encampments.

Beijing acknowledged that last week's anti-government protests had spread far beyond Tibet's borders and that police opened fire on protesters. It warned foreign tourists and journalists to stay away from a huge expanse of territory across four provinces".


However, Tibet is just a small part of what the Communists have done to traditional Chinese Buddhism. Over the last few years, China has extended its control over the information coming to its population through the internet by outright blocking and banning some websites, such as youtube and any pro-Tibetan sites. China put on a face of reform to the West, celebrating its so called new freedoms of personal liberties, speech and press, yet, its monitoring and manipulation on what news the population receives has exploded to some new 'Orwellian' level.

China has some 600 million practicing Buddhists or Buddhist/Taoist mix, yet all gatherings, teachings and congregations are still mostly prohibited from public view unless sanctioned, ie controlled by the Communist Party for propaganda purposes. It is an awful shame, as many Chinese Buddhists are responsible for countless great literally dharma writings and the formation of several different Mahayana sects and schools of practice. Buddhist traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation, from village to village, and much of what has survived to this day has made its way through China at one time or another. Over the past 2,000 years, the influence of Chinese teachers has had a direct influence in the spreading of Buddhism to Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and Central Asia.

I do think there is a move within China to have some real reform, some real movement towards personal freedoms, we in the West take for granted. Ironically, it is China's quest for economic gain that has exposed this festering sore of oppression and control. Will its desire for monetary gain outweigh the desire to control the spiritual thought of its population? I don't know, but sooner or later, this emerging Chinese middle class will come to the stark realization that they've been living in a box, sealed by political ideology.

I believe that it is a monumental tragedy that in this modern age of communication and information sharing, there still exists such oppression on such an enormous scale. China's problems are not that much different than what is seen currently in Burma, some parts of Vietnam and North Korea. As progressives in the west, we must not abandon these ancient cultures, for whom without their efforts, our new budding tradition would probably never had been possible.

Many here perhaps will disagree with my conclusions, and I'd love to hear any and all different perspectives.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Mind in the Balance...

... a new book by B. Alan Wallace

One of the wonderful things about Buddhism is that its teachings can range from the very simplest and most purely experiential to the most intensely scholarly and philosophical--without in either case losing anything of their meaning or value. I've been thinking about this recently with the approaches of four very different teachers sitting on my desk, awaiting my attention. There's a CD filled with short dharma talks by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, abbot of the Metta Forest Monastery, covering every aspect of the human experience. There's a book by his student (and my friend and fellow sangha member,) Dr. Barbara Wright, describing her application of "metta"--the loving-kindness practice--to interpersonal relationships and conflict resolution. It's based on her board game, Metta. And there's Still the Mind, an audiobook by Bhodipaksa, whose website Wildmind is one of the great online resources for information and guidance about the Buddhist practice.

More of these in the coming days, as time allows. For today, there's Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity by B. Alan Wallace, a pioneering work of careful scholarship that seeks a new basis and rationale for a science of the mind. Exploring, first, the long history of religious meditation practice in both East and West from its ancient origins, Wallace then turns his attention to the attempts of scientists and philosophers, in more recent centuries, to describe the workings of the mind through the lens of a rational, empirical methodology--attempts that have consistently run up against the rocks of the seemingly impenetrable subjective/objective divide.

The main body of his book is devoted to Wallace's own attempt to break through that obstacle, in a series of alternating chapters that "balance" theory and practice in ever-deepening and more carefully refined stages of awareness, awareness of awareness, and observing the awareness of awareness. Following him along with his work is akin to watching the most skilled of surgeons with his scalpel, separating out intricate tissues and pausing to examine each of them under the microscope of consciousness. It's fascinating, intense, and infinitely detailed mind-work.

Be it said, then, that this book requires a lot of patience. "Mind in the Balance" is not one for the slacker. Be it said, too, that I am still in the process of reading it. I cannot claim to have fully plumbed its depths. Because it demands the reader's highly focused concentration and active collaboration, it is not a fast read. Wallace asks a lot of his reader, who must--if he is to read the book as it is intended to be read--learn some pretty skilled meditation practices along the way, and spend more than a minimal amount of time experiencing them before proceeding to the theoretical examination of their implications for Wallace's argument. I'll be the first to admit that I find the practices challenging, to say the least--and I have been at the practice for a number of years.

But if the author asks a lot, he gives a lot in return for the reader's patience and collaboration. This careful, methodical study of workings of the mind is in fact the essence of the Buddha's teachings, as I understand them. Remarkably--but perhaps not surprisingly--it coincides in the most important places with what Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Dr. Wright, and Bhodipaksa have to say. It's simply a different presentation from theirs, a different way--the way of the scholar and the rationalist thinker. At the center of it all is the Buddha and the ineffable depth of his compassion, its radical simplicity and inexhaustible wisdom.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Buddhist Meditation and Supernatural Powers

I was out with a friend of mine the other day, who considers himself somewhat of a mystical psychic and claims to have cultivated some powers from the great beyond. We began discussing this notion of supernatural events that one can observe during deep meditation as he thought us "Buddhists" could harness these types of powers. This is not a new notion of course; lots of people have speculated about mystical enlightenment and magical powers of the mind garnered from the unseen. I’ve even heard some Buddhists to have claimed to be mind readers, have the ability to levitate and to astral project themselves at will.

I did agree that there has been some scientific studies done of Buddhist monks brain waves during meditation and that they have shown a much different wave pattern than most people. I also agreed that meditation can possibly cause rather strange and sometime very controllable dreams, a sort of sleeping astral projection if you will. It is not surprising to also hear about some that can withstand extreme physical pain, yet seem completely unbothered. My agreements with him stopped there and I argued to him that these things and other unusual seemingly mystical abilities are besides the point to meditation.

He pressed me about mind reading, ESP, super natural Tibetans that can morph into any object and some monks ability to enter a spirit world at will. I told him I thought some communication and observations are much like a radio frequencies. If we are tuned into the same station we may notice things that we never did before. And while I have experienced, as I'm sure many of you have as well, some very awe inspiring moments during meditation and the practice of mindfulness, I certainly do not consider them to be supernatural, but rather just better understanding of our true nature.

I think if we practice meditation and mindfulness to obtain some type of extra special powers or some supernatural abilities, we are not only missing the point, we are just pursuing yet another want. If one does experience something magical or mystical during their practice, I think it is important to keep them in perspective, realizing that they aren't the purpose of the practice. It maybe what they end up realizing in the end is unimaginably, unquestionably and unmistakably far more profound than reading someone else's mind or floating over a rug. Well, OK, I don't know, I could be totally wrong.

I told him, "If you really want to be a mind reader, perhaps you should start with your own mind. That is where the true magic is." He laughed and said, "I sense you are annoyed." I chuckled, “You are a mind reader!”

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Bad Back

I have been given the opportunity, alas, to observe pain in the most personal of ways: I'm suffering it. The lower back spasm that started a couple of days ago has developed into the worst episode of this kind I have experienced in quite a long time.

It is, to say the least, a distraction. I was a first-hand witness to the way in which the mind grabs hold of pain during my meditation this morning. I chose to lie prone, rather than to sit, with the intention of starting out with my usual practice of metta, wishing goodwill to myself, my family, my friends, the world at large... Easier, this morning, said than done. The mind had its wonderful new distraction to keep it busy whilst I tried to quiet it down. In the end, I let it have its way, and allowed it to settle on the area of the pain itself and the way in which it radiated out from its center in my lower back. I found--not for the first time--that becoming the observer of the pain allows me to dissociate from it: I find myself watching it, like a sympathetic third party, rather than suffering from it in the first person, as its victim.

This, it seems to me, is one of the great teachings of Buddhism--and not an easy one to put into practice: "This is not me, this is not mine, this is not who I am." If I'm able to break the attachment to my pain for even a few moments at a time during meditation and experience release, surely the recognition of the efficacy of this strategy will serve as a model, in the regular course of my life, for situations in which I stubbornly prolong pain by clinging to it.

The theory makes it look simple; it's the translation of theory into practice that's hard. I don't know about you, but I too often succumb to those old mental patterns that scream: I hurt. What is it that attaches me to something that I so heartily dislike? It has to be precisely that that need to be "me," to be that person who happens to be suffering, to allow the suffering--however short-lived--to define me for the course of its duration. So I try breathing, watching, dissociating: This is not me, this is not mine, this is not who I am.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Truth shall set you free?


Have you ever noticed the further one believes one side of an argument or discussion to be true, the less they are willing to see the other side of the story? Some people just won't budge from what they think to be true, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. I think this causes a lot of complications in life, these strong entrenched stances we all sometimes take. In doing so, we deify this word, truth, muttering it as if it were handed down by God.

In 1925, the Physicist Werner Heisenberg, while trying to measure the properties of molecules in motion, formulated what is known as the 'Uncertainty Principle'. What Heisenberg discovered was that the more precise the measurement of a particles position, the less precise was the measurement of its momentum, or wavelength. In layman’s terms, it means that both the position and the wavelength of a particle can not be measured precisely at the same time, and the more one side is pinned down to an exact answer, the more the other measurement will be off. This isn't a problem with measurement or instruments; it is in close relation to another quantum theory known as the Observer effect.

The observer effect simply means that by the mere act of observing any phenomena, the outcome of the event is altered. Many times the example of mercury in a thermometer is used. Just the simple act of the mercury measuring the temperature of any object, it has to absorb some of the heat, therefore changing the actual outcome of the measurement. For instance, if you magnify this explanation to a giant scale, say the true temperature of the ocean is 70 degrees, but place a giant thermometer in it, the mercury will absorb some of the oceans heat, therefore giving you a reading of say 69.8. Well, both are correct, right? The ocean is both 70 degrees and 69.8. And all depending on what you think is ‘really’ true, the answer is different.

What does all these physics theory’s have to do with the way one thinks and believes? It has to do with both how we are unequivocally interconnected with all things and how the further one conceives an assumption to be true, the less correct the other side seems. I realize this is yet another confusing science post by me, but bear with me. What we think to be now and real is always and only an approximation of what is really going on. We do know what is going on around us, we just tend to attach to one view, and solidify it in our minds as the "truth". In this we forget we are in fact entangled with everything, dependent on everything else that is, even that which we are making determinations about.

But this post isn’t really true, is it? I guess it’s all in how you look at it.
“What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and; anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding.”~ Friedrich Nietzsche

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